MULTICULTURAL & Is a Blended Church Multicultural? It Depends on Several Things #HealthyChurchBook

by Bob Whitesel, 10/20/14

A student once shared about a church that advocated fostering a multicultural church by blending the different styles of ethnic/cultural diversity into one “blended” worship service.  The student noted, “At the time of the writing of the book (David Anderson, Multicultural Ministry 2004), ‘Bridgeway Church is 55 to 60 percent African-American, 13 percent Asian, Latino or other ethnicities, and 27 to 30 percent Caucasian.’ (Anderson, 2004)  His church does not share their facilities with other ethnicities, they integrate the services.”

I responded that when a church has a “blended” multi-ethnic worship service, that church is sometimes not regarded as a multi-cultural church, for it is often made up of a culture of people who have come to like multiple ethnic elements.  Such individuals are usually more affluent, more educated and more well traveled that other people of their culture.  Thus, anthropologists could say that technically Bridgeway is a mono-cultural church; comprised of people from different ethnicities who like the blending of ethnicities (which then becomes a new culture.).

Attached is my research on the “Five Types of Multi-cultural Churches” from The Healthy Church: Practical Ways to Strengthen a Church’s Health, (2013, pp. 55-79).

Here is the quote that begins the chapter:

We do not want the westernization of the universal Church. On the other hand we don’t want the ecumenical cooks to throw all the cultural traditions on which they can lay their hands into one bowl and stir them to a hash of indeterminate colour. – John V. Taylor, statesman, Africanist and Bishop of Winchester [i]

[i] John V. Taylor, “Cultural Ecumenism,” Church Missionary Society Newsletter, Nov. 1974, p. 3, see also John V. Taylor, The Theological Basis of Interfaith Dialogue, in Faith Meets Faith, ed. Gerald M. Anderson and Thomas F. Stansky, Mission Trends, no. 5 (New York: Paulist Press, 1981), pp. 93ff.